Posted by Drew McLellan, October 30, 2012
Most people, when faced with the blank screen on their computer and a deadline for a new marketing piece looming, get a little uptight.
It’s intimidating to capture everything you want a prospect to know and share it in a compelling way. Your product or service is superb and you have so much to say — how will you do it justice?
Which is why most marketing copy is dreadful. Here are the most common mistakes:
- We do a brain dump, sharing everything we know.
- We want to demonstrate that we’re experts so we use impressive words and jargon that shows that we’re in the know.
- We cram way too many words into the piece because it’s all important.
- We talk about our company, our product, and our people…but not about the customer.
If you make even one of those mistakes, odds are your prospect is taking a glance at your first two or three sentences and then moving on. You haven’t invited them into the conversation – you’re just talking about you.
Remember, you are trying to start a conversation. Who would you rather talk to – someone who walks up to you and asks a question about you or a person who walks up and starts telling you all about them?
So how do we avoid those mistakes? We can ask ourselves these questions.
How do they talk?
I can have the best deal in the world, but if I tell you about it in Japanese and you don’t speak Japanese – you can’t possibly want what I am selling.
You need to know your prospect well enough that you know how they talk.
- Are they engineers who use very precise, detailed language and acronyms?
- Are they teachers who speak about their students with affection and pride?
- Are they purchasing agents who need to squeeze every penny from the deal and deliver the highest ROI possible?
Understanding the language they use and how they’re going to have to sell your offering up/down the food chain, will allow you to craft your message in their native tongue.
Your prospects are busy and won’t take the time to translate your marketing messages. If they don’t instantly understand it and see that you’re talking to them, they’ll pass it by every time.
Do they know they need you?
No one wants to buy something they don’t need or want. That sounds like a duh, but many times businesses try to sell solutions to a client who doesn’t realize they have a problem.
Often, we just go right to the solution without even mentioning the problem. Let’s say that I want to sell my home in the next 12 months. You own a landscape business and send me information about how good your work is, showing me pictures of gorgeous yards, etc.
But I dismiss it, because I’m not going to live in my house much longer so why spend money on something I won’t get to enjoy?
You’ve lost the sale, because I don’t know I need you. But if one of your marketing pieces was titled “5 landscaping tricks to sell your house faster” now you have my attention.
If the first line of body copy told me that 34% of buyers passed on at least one home because the landscaping was disappointing – you have just converted a “no” into an interested prospect.
Now you have my attention.
By paying attention to these two elements – you can effectively avoid all four of the mistakes I mentioned.
You’ll speak in their language and only talk about what matters to them – their problems and how you can solve them.
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